Davidoff Global CEO
Having visited Bahrain just in January for the opening of Davidoff Cigar Boutique by Jashanmal in Al Aali Mall, Davidoff Global CEO Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard talks about what it’s like to have been working in the consumer goods industry for a quarter of a century.
Being born into a Danish family that sold tobacco products, perhaps it was inevitable that Mr. Hoejsgaard ended up as Global CEO for Davidoff since 2011. Having received his education at Harvard Business School, INSEAD and Wharton, Mr. Hoejsgaard held top positions at various companies such as Timex Group BV, Georg Jensen and Seagram’s before joining Davidoff.
He spoke about his leadership style as being able to give a clear vision for the future to his team while still giving freedom and maneuverability within that framework. He says it is important to practice and understand the strategies as well as to hire and surround yourself with people who are bigger than the jobs themselves. Having worked with a wide variety of nationalities and cultures, he says it has been an opportunity to learn from them and add to the business a Global sense.
When asked if he would prefer to be liked or respected in his position as CEO, Mr. Hoejsgaard says it is important to be respected by his colleagues. He says he likes to be a part of a team that has the right set of skills and being liked by the team members is an added bonus.
When we spoke about his typical routine, he described his usual day as; starting very early to reach the office in Basel, Switzerland by 7am and spending the rest of his day attending meetings. A lot of his time is also spent travelling to various locations like The United States, The Caribbean, The Dominican Republic and Asia. Mr. Hoejsgaard says he finds it difficult to find ‘work/life’ balance and that he personally does not think it is possible nor is the concept realistic. Being a CEO, he says, is a 24 hour job and therefore he tries to find “pockets of relaxation” such as going on holiday or doing things that help him unwind. This includes spending time with family – as he prioritises them – or cooking, which he finds therapeutic and even visiting galleries since he enjoys contemporary art.
It is apparent, with this level of dedication that the Davidoff Empire is in capable hands. When we spoke about Davidoff cigars, Mr. Hoejsgaard explained the hard work and effort that goes into making a cigar and the lengthy yet necessary process that ensures that the best quality cigars are produced. The company prides itself on its innovation, new blends and new origins that lead to the finest of cigars while keeping in check with the(se) company values. Before even reaching the customers’ hands, the cigars go through at least 600 hands during the processes of growing, seeding, blending and rolling.
The act of smoking a cigar, says Mr. Hoejsgaard, is almost like a ceremonial gesture as it is something that usually represents an act of celebration and requires time to smoke rather than trying to rush it. Cigars are also considered such a luxury that unlike a usual cigarette, the cigar-smoker would only go through 1-3 cigars a week.
In his four years as Global CEO of Davidoff, Mr. Hoejsgaard has enabled the company to grow with additions and evolutions to their products as well as with enhancements and expansions of the company itself. It is his years of experience in the industry and excellent work ethic that will therefore ensure that Davidoff’s name remains on the map for a very long time.
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